New Hampshire Edged by Albany, 13-12

DURHAM, N.H. -- Kayla Best, the University at Albany's top goal scorer, scored her only goal of the game with 40 seconds remaining in regulation to break a 12-12 tie and lift the Great Danes to Saturday afternoon's 13-12 victory against the University of New Hampshire in America East women's lacrosse action at Memorial Field.

UNH, which recognized seniors Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass.) and Kellen Millard (Ipswich, Mass.) prior to their last home game, is now 9-5 overall and 3-2 in America East. Despite the loss, the Wildcats earned a berth in the America East Championship tournament for the 13th consecutive year by virtue of the University of Vermont's loss at Boston University.

Albany won its third consecutive game to improve to 12-2 overall and remains tied with BU atop the league standings at 5-0. The Great Danes play host to BU on May 1 for the regular-season title. The loser of that game will be UNH's opponent in a May 6 semifinal game.

Amber Casiano (South Windsor, Conn.) led UNH's attack with career highs in both goals (three) and points (four) to earn the team's America East Player of the Game honor. Kaplan, Allie Bratton (Windermere, Fla.) and Kate Keagins (Bay Shore, N.Y.) each finished with two goals and an assist. Keagins was also credited with four ground balls, two caused turnovers and three draw controls. Kathleen O'Keefe (Chatham, N.J.) finished with nine saves and three ground balls.

Christine Grueniger, the America East Player of the Game for Albany, scored three goals and set up Best's game-winning goal to record four points; she also had seven draw controls. Mel Rorie scored a game-high four goals. Ashley Ross stopped three shots both halves for a total of six saves. UA's defensive efforts were highlighted by Stephanie Kempf game-high four caused turnovers, two ground balls, one draw control and Tricia Primomo (team-high four ground balls). Nikki Branchini tallied four draw controls, three ground balls and one caused turnover.

New Hampshire raced out to a 5-0 lead just more than seven minutes into the game. Casiano, the league's reigning Rookie of the Week, drove down the middle of the fan and converted Keagins' pass from the right wing into a goal just 19 seconds into the game to quickly give the 'Cats a 1-0 lead.

JoJo Curro (Amherst, N.H.; 1g, 1a), on a cut down the middle, one-timed Bratton's feed from the right wing into the upper-right corner at 27:26 and Keagins struck 54 seconds later to extend the advantage to 3-0. Casiano, deep on the left side, beat a double team with a pass to Keagins and she scored at the left doorstep.

The duo of Bratton and Ilana Cohen (Andover, Mass.) combined to produce goals at 23:55 and 22:49 to give UNH a 5-0 lead. On a re-start in the defensive zone, Keagins quickly advanced the ball to Cohen, who raced down the middle of the field into the attacking zone. Cohen swung a pass to Bratton, who fired a shot into the goal from the top-right side. Albany called time out, but the 'Cats gained possession on a Keagins' caused turnover. UNH advanced the ball downfield and UA was called offsides. On that re-start, Casiano quickly passed to Cohen on the right wing and she in turn quickly hit Bratton cutting down the middle for the goal at 22:49.

Albany scored goals 24 seconds apart to trim the deficit to 5-2. Taylor Frink curled behind the net to the left post and scored on a high shot at 20:36. Grueniger gained possession on the ensuing draw control. Rorie sped around a pair of UNH defenders on the right wing, charged towards the post and fired a shot near-side into the goal at 20:12.

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